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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 






HON. LINN BOYD, OF KENTUCKY, 



PRESENT SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 
UNITED STATES. 



BY A VIRGINIAN, 



* WASHINGTON: 

PRINTED AT THE CONGRESSIONAL GLOBE OFFICE. 

1855. 









A 



FEOM THE RICHMOND ENQUIRER. 



Mr. Speaker B^yd.— We devote most of our space this morning — and we cannot 
fliore appropriately do so — to the interesting, well written, and spirited biography of 
Iff Speaker Boyc, from the graceful and ready pen of an able Virginian. The sketch 
is rich in historical allusions, points a moral for the rising generation, and, by pre- 
senting a noble example to the honest masses, must aid in inciting a virtuous and 
honorable emulation in the path of duty, ft sets forth the beauty and success of a 
fearless and unwavering devotion to the great principles of the Democratic party, and 
appeals loudly for union, energy, and enthusiasm at this deeply interesting crisis of 
affairs . ! 

I , 



Washington, D. C, February 14, 1852. 
To the Editor of vk Enquirer: 

111 health and jhe inclemency of the season having confined my intercourse, and 
compelled me to and my enjoyments in avocations of the mind, as a means of private 
relief, and a duty to the public and our party, I prepared a short biography of Speaker 
Boyd. In pursiing the subject, it struck me forcibly that the private life of the man, 
his principles as a politician, his conduct as a statesman, and his intimate connection 
with the history of the Democratic party, through a long period of time, formed, not/ 
only an appropriate reason, but, at this time, a necessary inducement for its publica- 
tion. It is example — it is history — it is principles imbodied into action; and those 
who have seen f hat I have seen of the things and the influences at work, will feel the 
necessity of filling every channel of the Democratic heart full of all the best impulses 
and principles derivable from the conduct of our public men and the party. 

This life wasbrepared under the circumstances stated. Its publication may possibly 
be attributed tofother motives; this cannot be avoided except by its suppression, which 
a very natural (desire and a sense of duty will not permit. If it contributes to the 
purification of pur party; if it affords an example to my younger friends; if it restores 
the strength of the party, by reviving recollections of the past; if it diffuses correct 
notions of theframe-work and action of our* Government; if it tends to elevate the 
standard of party morals; if it teaches any lesson of personal integrity and moral firm- 
ness and dealing with great popular questions; if it saves a great oarty from becoming 
the instrument and the victim of an organized corruption; if it shall contribute, from 
all or any of these causes, to our success now, and the permanence of our principles 
hereafter, I atfi content. The cause and the motive, in any one or all these results, 
will be vindicated. 

T. 



BIOGRAPHY. 



Look upon the portraiture of Linn Boyd! — strong, frank, fearless, honest, and 
sincere. To the constant and vigilant inquirer of Nature she njever lies, and as the eye 
so is the whole face the index of his soul. Gentle in his strength, modest in his 
frankness, unobtrusive in his honesty, conciliating, yet firm, in his sincerity, Linn Boyd, 
the Speaker of the House of Representatives, stands forth prominently as one of the 
best models of an American republican, and of whom it may be well said: 
st A rarer spirit never 
Did steer humanity." 

Mr. Boyd now occupies the highest postion in this country, next to that of the 
Presidency. Just below the President in the power, influence, and honor of the sta- 
tion, he is, like the President, chosen by an electoral college delegated directly by the 
people; and deriving his official position, thus mediately, from this sovereign source of 
popular authority, he is the chief representative of that mighty power of the masses, 
which, under constitutional restrictions, is maintaining freedom, extending civilization, 
and diffusing democratic tendencies, under moral and legislative restraints. He is a 
fair exponent of that popular creed, delivered by Mr. Jefferson, which claims humanity 
enough to embrace the human race, and of that honest and necessary conservatism 
which defends the rights of the people and the sovereignty of the States. And in 
these times of trial, when the Union must be preserved, when the conservative elements 
of the Democratic party must bewailed into full play and energy, to guide us safely 
through all extremes that may skirt our flanks; when its great aim and purposes are 
to be pursued in the spirit of a lofty patriotism, and the Constitution of the country 
and the glory of the people be perpetuated and increased, that people, contending 
against every element brought to oppose them, have, by an overwhelming election, 
filled the popular branch of Congress with Democratic Representatives; and these, to 
guide them through surrounding dangers, have elected Linn Boyd, of Kentucky, their 
Speaker. 

It is now his solemn duty to preside over diverse — it may be, discordant, materials. 
By all the requisite advantages and qualifications which a long public service can give 
to a man with his natural endowments of clear good sense, sterling integrity, and 
plain, downright patriotism, he is well fitted for the station and the duty; and, in 
advance, we pledge his honesty of purpose, his impartiality of conduct, his love of 
order, and his fidelity to the laws and the Constitution, for the adornment of that sta- 
tion and the discharge of that duty. He is a Democrat, thoroughly imbued with the 
spirit and the principles of his party, as imbodied in its soundest and noblest examples; 
yet his political opponents may well say of him, and they will say it, when there is no 
motive to swerve: 

" He, in a general, honest thought, 

Jlnd common good to all, made one of them; 

His life was gentle; and the elements 

So mix'd in him, that Nature might stand up, 

And say to all the world, < This is a man ." » 

James Boyd, the grandfather, a Virginian by birth, movea* to the State of South 



4 BIOGRAPHY OF LINN BOYD. 

Carolina, where he was an active and vigilant friend of his country, and a determined 
asserter of its independence. Constant and unyielding in the support of the war of 
the Revolution, he and his family suffered severely for their well-tried patriotism. 
Twice their habitation was burnt to the ground by the Tories; twice their hearth was 
made desolate; and as he and his family went forth without shelter and without rai- 
ment, they never lost faith in God and the good cause of their country. The grand- 
father and his three sons were soldiers of that war. One son (Samuel) was shot 
diagonally through the eye and the temple; another son, of the tender age of sixteen 
years, bore arms by the side of that father and brothers in the war of freedom. Of 
that son we will now speak. 

Abraham Boyd — the father — was a native of Virginia. In quite early life he accom- 
panied his father — James Boyd — to South Carolina, where, as we have stated, at the 
unripe age of sixteen, he entered the service of his country in the revolutionary war, 
in company with his father and brothers. He stood upon the ashes of his humble 
homestead, and saw the work of vengeance thus wreaked upon all he loved for their 
fidelity to a sacred cause; he saw his mother without food, or raiment, or shelter; and 
this the act of men opposed to the freedom and independence of the country he loved, 
and for which he was devoting his service, and, if needs be, ready to make the sacrifice 
of his life. The love of country in him — passing through this fiery ordeal — like Jack- 
son's, with whom he subsequently became associated and intimate, acquired intensity 
and edge, as the temper to iron makes the Damascus steel. After the close of the 
revolutionary war, an4 about the year 1788, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Boyd 
crossed the mountains into Tennessee, with no fortunes but'their clear heads and strong 
hearts, and no friends but the good God above, and the great country around them, 
which they had aided to save from despotism. They both located at Nashville, and 
though subsequently separated, and occupying different spheres, they were through 
life, without interruption, ardent and devoted friends. Various instances and anecdotes 
of their mutual friendship might be related, did our limits permit. . 

The Boyds were closely related by blood to the great bard of Scotland, Robert 
Burns, who was a representative man, imbodying in his undying songs the hopes, 
wishes, feelings, and aspirations of the laboring and untitled peasantry and yeomanry 
of the world. Like Robert Burns, Abraham Boyd was without education, and he 
overcame the disadvantages and difficulties which surrounded his early life, and proved 
himself a man. The blood of Burns would vindicate itself; and the history of the 
elder Boyds, as that of the son, shows that 

" The rank is but the guinea's stamp ; 
The man's the gowd for a' that." 

At an early period the elder Boyd settled at Nashville, in the State of Tennessee, 
where his son, Linn Boyd, (named from his mother,*) was born on the 22d of Novem- 
ber, in the year 1800. Poor and unfriended, the father moved with his family, in 1803, 
to Christian (now Trigg) county, in the State of Kentucky, and settled on the east 
bank of the Cumberland river, where he lived until the time of his death, a few years 
ago, when, after a long life of exertion and usefulness, he descended to the tomb, arnid 
the regrets and with the regards of an entire community. The elder Boyd learned to 
spell, read, and write after he had grown to man's estate, and, as evidence of the moral 
purpose and inflexible pursuit of knowledge which characterized him, it should be 
stated, for the example and incitement of others, his time for learning his arithmetic 
was frequently the pause in the labors of the field, when horse and man were both 
weary and willing to rest, and his slate was the dust of the mould hoard of his plow. 

Let our farmers and their sons, our mechanics in their workshops, and our poor 
•and meritorious young men everywhere, look on this picture, contemplate it well, and, 
in the success of father and son, see the sure footprints, by following which they, too, 
may succeed. The father, with his unfailing industry of body and mind, proceeded by 
one laborious step after another, maintaining his family in the style of a frontier 
settler, and steadily advancing until he established the reputation of a well-read histo- 
rian, a man of unerring judgment, inflexible private and public integrity, and, as such, 
.an able and efficient member for many years of the Legislature of Kentucky. There 
was the success of the genius and the energy of Burns, united to the practical wisdom 
and sagacity of an American frontiersman. It is a life where democratic simplicity 
and republican integrity have insured success — man's noblest triumph — the success 
-which follows merit. 

*Mre. Boyd was of Irish descent. 



BIOGRAPHY OF LINN, BOYD. 5 

The hand of hard necessity was on young Boyd; but he never faltered or failed in 
the discharge of the labors or duties assigned him. In the heat of the day he steadily 
and constantly pursued the labors of the forest, the field, and the mill; the night and 
the inclement days of winter found him poring over the few books and the limited 
routine of instruction furnished by the occasional schools of that day. This was all 
that the wealth, it may be, the wholesome adversity of circumstance, could do for the 
early education of Linn Boyd; but in this, as in every situation and trial of life, as a 
true man and an honest one, he made the best of it. With the same assiduous devo- 
tion and characteristic energy with which his father accompanied the grandsire in the 
dangers and toils of war, he aided in all the domestic and laborious duties of life made 
honorable and ennobling by the sentiment of filial respect and manly deference to 
paternal wishes and authority. These constitute the groundwork of every true man; 
and the father who is a good citizen, enforcing by precept and example the principles 
and the life of republican simplicity and pursuit of useful objects which guided this 
family so signally, will gain the rich reward of an honest and honorable posterity, 
illustrating the lesson of religion as well as of experience; while those* who run the 
course of ostentatious folly and profligate idleness will bitterly learn that they who 
" sow to the winds will reap the whirlwind." 

In the preparation of this biographical notice, it so happens that this is the eighth 
day of January, 1852 — an anniversary of a day memorable, in itself, in the history of 
our many brilliant achievements in arms: still more memorable in its consequences, by 
the moral power and political influences with which it surrounded and identified the 
hero of its battle-field, as the only and true leader in the great contest of ideas and polity 
which subsequently followed, and which convulsed the civilized world, and is revolu- 
tionizing and reconstructing, upon the free principles of the age, the commercial system 
of the nations. In' the history of the extraordinary man to whom these remarks refer, 
it was his duty, as commissioner of the United States, in 1819, to treat with the Chick- 
asaw Indians, for their valuable domain lying east of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. 
By this treaty, secured by the foresight, and concluded by the judgment of Andrew 
Jackson, all that fertile and beautiful country stretching from the Tennessee river across 
the State of Tennessee, and extending down into Mississippi, was surrendered to the 
improvement and civilization of the white man. This purchase included that fertile 
country, washed on two sides, by the Tennessee and the Ohio, and bounded on the 
south by the line of the adjoining State, and long known to the solitary traveler through 
the wilderness, and in the tradition of the country to the children of the present day, 
as the beautiful hunting grounds of Minke Pi. These lands filled rapidly with a frugal, 
industrious, and hospitable population, and were soon divided into four counties, having 
one Representative in the State Legislature. The Tennessee river divides the county of 
Trigg from Calloway. Mr. Linn Boyd having now arrived at man's estate, and pressed 
forward by those generous impulses and principles which harmoniously regulate each 
other, in that state of society, where mutual dependence begets a desire and a moral 
necessity for reciprocal kindness, left the paternal roof, and, in the year 1826, located 
in the adjoining county of Calloway. The footsteps of Minke Pi no longer followed 
in the chase over his native hills, and the red man no more startled the wiid deer from 
the tangled brake; the hardy pioneers were there — many who wanted homes; those 
who survived the wars of their country, and whose fortunes had been neglected or 
ruined in their devotion to its cause, and those who had braved the dangers of the early 
border life, flocked to this land of promise. These were the elements of which this 
portion of the Kentucky character was formed — similar and alike, in all its nobler 
traits to the general qualities which distinguish the people of that State. The Boyd 
family had grown up with the country; they had been there so long, that scarcely any 
knew but what they had been indigenous to the land, did not their Saxon blood and 
republican principles at once indicate their origin and their character. 

Mr. Linn Boyd, now of the county of Calloway, mixed freely with the people, and 
engaged boldly and decisively in the conversations and discussions relative to the 
appropriation and settlement of those lands. So early and entirely did he gain the 
confidence of that community, scattered over those four large counties, and having 
such a deep interest in a wise and just disposal of those lands, that in 1827 he waa 
returned as their member to the Representative branch of the Legislature. The contest 
was a most spirited one, and, animating as the contest proved, it was creditable to Mr. 
Boyd and highly honorable to all the parties engaged. Judge James, a very influential 
citizen, who for more than twenty years has been honored by that people with being 
their Representative, was triumphantly defeated by this young opponent. Subse- 



6 BIOGRAPHY OF LINN BOYD. 

quently Calloway formed an election district, and for the two succeeding years Mr. 
Boyd was elected to the same station, from this large and populous county, by a vote 
of two to one over popular men who became candidates in opposition. What is 
remarkable is, that, in all his career, he never made personal enemies of his opponents; 
and with his competitors through life, they and their descendants, there has ever existed 
a sincere and confiding friendship. There is in these facts evidence of a lofty bearing 
and a force of moral dignity, the imitation of which carfnot be too strongly enforced on 
the consideration of young men becoming politicians or aspiring to statesmanship; but 
the possession of the solid virtues is better than their gilding. 

From 1827 to ]830 — three sessions — Mr. Boyd represented the district aforesaid; 
the county of Trigg during that time, for two sessions, was represented by his father, 
Abraham Boyd. During this period Mr. Boyd, in conjunction with other gentlemen, 
brought forward a system which proved peculiarly applicable for the appropriation 
and settlement of those lands. A somewhat similar system in relation to the public 
lands of the Union is now rapidly rising in popular favor, and politicians and presi- 
dential aspirants are grasping after golden opinions as authors or promoters of the 
scheme, substantially the same, which, in twenty-five years, under the guidance of a 
yeoman statesman, has made an industrious and frugal yet hospitable people independ- 
ent and happy. This judicious system protected the settler on the one hand, and the 
legitimate interest of the State on the other, and consisted mainly in the provision 
granting to the actual settlers the right to enter one hundred and sixty acres of land, 
embracing their homes, at one half the sum required from others. By this stroke of 
forest statesmanship, the settler uniformly secures a home for his wife and' children, 
unmolested by that bane of all new countries, the insatiate land-jobber. And an 
enlarged and wholesome patriotism will anticipate the time when the public land of the 
Union may be made to yield as rich a harvest for the general good, by a well-ordered 
system of appropriation and settlement, when all the interests connected with commerce? 
manufactures, and mechanics, will receive a new impulse from the improved condition, 
multiplied wants, and expanding resources, and intelligence of this portion of our 
population. 

During his period of service, he secured two members in the Legislature for his con- 
stituency, and he and Judge James were the delegates returned, by whose actual and 
constantly united cooperation many advantages were secured to the people they repre- 
sented. 

Having served the people of the Calloway district three sessions, which expired in 
1830, he returned to his paternal roof in the county of Trigg. In 1831, at the earnest 
solicitation of the people, which he was not permitted to resist, he became a candidate 
again, on a new field, and was elected over a gentleman of high character, and com- 
manding influence, of opposing political principles, and this, by the largest majority 
ever polled in the county. As in the contest of Calloway it was alleged against him 
that he was a young man, without any fixed residence, so in the canvass in Trigg, he 
was called the " traveling candidate" — that he would go into any county and be elected 
wherever he went. The result made the intended reproach a signal compliment. 

" A man was famous according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees." 
[Psalm 74.] This was the language of the inspired writer, when, in his clear vision 
of the .past, in the simplicity of the early manners and virtues, he beheld most dis- 
tinctly the glory of his nation. And precisely, as a people revive the spirit which 
animated their first struggle, and reproduce and reincorporate into their private conduct 
and public policy, the fundamental principles of their institution, or, more properly, 
their installation among the nations of the earth, so do they perpetuate that youth and 
vigor, which alone can preserve to them the freedom and the virtue of their early 
existence. And men are always arising from the bosom of the masses, with the inher- 
ent simplicity of manners, native strength of intellect, common sympathies with the 
race, and enlightened and just regard for the interests of the whole people, whose 
public conduct and administration of official duties make the words of the Psalmist, 
in the sense in which he used them, a living truth in any age which will adopt its 
' wisdom. " A man is famous according as he has lifted up axes upon the thick trees." 

At the end of the session for which he was elected, from the county of Trigg, Mr. 
Boyd retired for a'season, from public life, contrary to the wishes and very earnest 
solicitations of his fellow-citizens. The people felt they had a claim on his services, 
which he had no right to withhold; and his refusal to be a candidate occasioned much 
dissatisfaction among his old friends. He was not rich, and he felt that he must pay 
some attention to his private fortune. On the 20th of October, 1832, he married Alice 



BIOGRAPHY OP LINN BOYD. 7 

D. Bennett, of his own county, whose father was originally a plain, substantial, Vir- 
ginia farmer— a lady of sterling sense and noble qualities. Happy in his new relation 
to society, and proud of* his honest possessions,* with his accustomed energy and love of 
employment, he devoted himself to the improvement and cultivation of his little Sabine 
farm of one hundred and thirty acres; and there, like Cincinnatus, whose exampl|^xnd 
virtues Washington desired to r'evive and perpetuate in this country, he might nave 
been constantly found in the work around his homestead, running the fence, plowing 
the field, reaping the harvest, gathering the corn, or *' lifting his axe on the thick 
trees." 

In a feverish and restless mind there is a constant irritation in scenes of quietude, 
and a yearning after notoriety and the bustle of streets, clubs, cabels, or factions; and 
in a robust and healthy mind there is a moral necessity of nature which impels it to 
useful and honorable exertion. And had Mr. Boyd no wish or motive of his own to 
return again to public life, and in a more exalted sphere, he could not have well resisted 
the importunities of his many ardent friends. Colonel C. Lyon was the incumbent in 
Congress, and, the impression prevailing that he would decline at the end of the term, 
Mr. Boyd consented to be a candidate. It, however, so happened that Mr. Lyon 
wished to be returned again. Mr. Boyd could not retire from the field, in deference to 
the many friends who called him forth; he could not make a warm and excited contest, 
from the high regard for his opponent, who was his personal friend — and the election 
went against him by his own default, by a small majority. In 1835 he was chosen a 
member to Congress, and at once, by the ancient family friendship which had existed 
unbroken, and by concurrence of general views and principles of policy, he became 
identified with the administration of President Jackson, and the policy which he was 
giving to the country. 

The separation of parties were marked and decided. The spirit of Jefferson was 
•revived, and again animated the Democratic party. The recollection of the struggles 
of '98 and '99 came back upon the minds of the people with the distinctness and vivid- 
ness of a transaction of youth, which in after times thrills and mysteriously excites an 
aged man. The young caught their enthusiasm from the old, and the old , in the renewed 
conflict of their struggles, sought to bequeath to posterity the fruits of a victory, in 
which they had not been altogether unsuccessful. The Democratic party revived the 
doctrines of '98 and '99 — freedom of speech; freedom of trades from bounties and 
oppressive tariffs; freedom from the tyranny and exhausting exactions of the bank; 
freedom from national debt; freedom of the States from consolidation; freedom of in- 
dustry in all its branches of art, trade, and commerce; the constitutional freedom, in 
all its integrity, of the people, who claim the continent as the center-point of deployment 
and a world for a theater of action, for the pursuit of their legitimate interests and the 
development of their destiny. This freedom it is reaching in the domain of mind. But 
at the time Mr. Boyd entered Congress, this was all chaos and contest. The Dem- 
ocratic party had bitter reflections of the past, and memories of tyranny which grated 
harshly on the mind. Among these memories and reflections were the punishments 
under the " alien and sedition law," and the belief that in these inflictions the Con- 
stitution of the land had been invaded, and the rights of the citizens violated. And to 
vindicate the citizen who suffered, and the high law which had been disregarded, a 
solemn reversal of these monstrous judgments was demanded by the temper of the 
times and a sense of justice. • The case of Matthew Lyon, the intelligent and manly 
mechanic, presented an appropriate opportunity. He had dared — in defense of his 
own rights, in defense of the right of all citizsns, and for the freedom of speech and 
action guarantied to him and to all by the Constitution — he had dared, in a firm, manly, 
and patriotic manner, to arraign those laws and their authors at the bar of public opinion, 
and he was condemned to the loss of a fine and illustrious infamy of an imprisonment. 
In 1835, Mr. Boyd brought forward the bill to refund this fine and interest to his heirs; 
and this tardy act of justice, yet significant in its meaning, was consummated in 1839. 
Thus was rebuked and reversed the judgment of an obsequious court, always consol- 
idating and aristocratic in its tendencies, and in that case administering an unconstitu- 
tional law, and imposing on an humble citizen a punishment for exercising the freedom 
of speech, in exposing the tyranny of rulers and the injustice of their laws. This was 
a public judgment of reversal and attaint passed upon an Administration eminent for 
its ability, yet infamous for the measures it espoused, and the laws which, for a while 

* The third of the three wishes of the early Greeks, before they had started on their early career of 
profligacy, effeminacy, and folly, was •' to be richly honestly." 



8 BIOGRAPHY OF LINN BOYD. 

it imposed upon the country. Such waa Mr. Boyd's introduction on the theater of 
national politics. 

How wonderfully extremes meet— as if by contrast Providence was presenting these 
extremes to teach the examples of patriotism and the limits of law and power ! Lyon 
was feed because he exercised a private individual right; the victorious General at 
New Orleans was fined because, from the necessity of position, he was compelled to 
assume the highest sovereign power which the Constitution can warrant, or the supre- 
macy of the laws permit. And to affirm the right of the one and defend the constitu- 
tional necessity of the other became the grave and solemn duty of public judgment; and 
the rights of the mechanic-patriot, representing the rights of all citizens, and the fame of 
the hero from his victorious battle-field, were alike maintained by the same great party, 
rendering its judgments on the page of history; and in the records of the present biog- 
raphy, we find the same man steadily pursuing his purposes, and maintaining great 
principles. 

Mr. Boyd came into Congress on the top of the wave. The flood-tide of a fallacious 
and transitory prosperity was bearing everything on its swelling bosom: the Bank of the 
United States, at one time contracting the supply to the channels of commerce and trade 
until the region through which they passed was an arid and barren waste; at another 
time, as then, it overflowed the country until the harvest and tilth of future years was 
destroyed by the excessive floods poured forth from failing sources of supply. General 
Jackson 's administration closed when all the sources of this false prosperity were pouring 
their floods upon the country. The presidential contest of 1836 came on, and in its 
result was staked, boldly and manfully, the success of the Democratic principles on the 
one hand, and the union of Bank and State on the other. The Democratic masses, 
impelled by the instincts of their common humanities, and guided by sound constitu- 
tional principles, mustered in the field of contest and won the laurels of a noble victory. 
But the bank party, stronger in its adversity, most powerful in the crash of its stupend- 
ous ruins, most dangerous in the collected will and vindictive purpose of a dying struggle 
and a last revenge, made one more effort. Confidence was annihilated ; moral cohesions 
were destroyed in the infection of the times; legal obligations were disavowed, and the 
privileges of incorporated companies were converted into powers for the resistance and 
overthrow of the laws. The Bank of the United States, standing on the tremendous 
precipice of its own ruin, suspended specie payments. The world was amazed; the 
convulsion and the terror spread over the country; bank followed bank; and the monetary 
power, in the very ruin which it had created, was omnipotent ! It is well to revive the 
recollection of this catastrophe, and the frenzy which accompanied it and produced 
bitter consequences, as a lesson of warning at this moment, when another expansion 
of the paper circulation is tending rapidly to the same dangerous — nay, destructive — 
results, and, in combination with political elements and personal and party intrigues, 
may injure the industry and labor of the people and destroy the public morals — these 
the only solid foundations of our Republic ! The swelling waves are gathering around 
us again. 

In this hour of seeming peril and real frenzy, Mr. Van Buren convoked Congress. 
His proclamation conveyed no definite information, and proposed no system of policy. 
In this state of popular alarm and uncertain policy, the election for members of Con- 
gress came on, and Mr. Boyd found himself opposed by a Democratic candidate, con- 
tending for a Bank of the United States and urging upon the people its necessity; and 
that the circumstances of the times and the experience of the past had compelled the 
Administration to call an extraordinary session of Congress, in order to restore this 
giant power to its enthronement above the laws and the Constitution. Without any 
knowledge of the purposes of the Administration — without counsel to consult, except 
his own republican principles — without power to aid, except his own inflexibility of 
purpose and the integrity of the people, and pressed by the phrenzied fanaticism of 
party, and the surrounding terror of the convulsion — he boldly, in advance of the politi- 
cians of the time, planted himself in defense of the mutilated and abandoned Consti- 
tution of his country. He urged that the system of Hamilton should be overthrown; 
he maintained that the time had come for a final and irrevocable divorce of Bank from 
the State, and that the country could only be safe from the rocking convulsions of a 
constantly contracting and expanding currency by being firmly and durably based on 
the solid metal in the iron chest. The malady of the times was infectious; the moral co- 
hesion of the Democratic party was to some extent dissolved, and the banner of a real 
friend and gallant leader was trailed in the dust of defeat. 
The Bank of the United States, stimulating speculation, fostering extravagance, sys- 






BIOGRAPHY OF LINN BOYD. 9 

tematizing venality, and spreading its fatal corruptions into domestic circles, and legis- 
lative councils, had laid the foundation for a bankruptcy, individual in its effects, but 
national in its character. It helped to ruin as it was ruined. Victims were found in 
cities, towns, and hamlets; and its desolations, like the sack of a city, involved the 
guilty and the guiltless. Society could only be relieved by means more injurious than 
the cause it affected to remove; for the legislative decree of bankruptcy which was passed 
by Congress involved a disregard for constitutional restraints and the morale of personal 
responsibility. To vindicate the former by a timely declaration, and to avenge the 
later by a historical stigma on the doers and the deed, a Democratic Congress repealed 
the bankrupt act, and the final struggle, after many days of contest and legislative 
evasions and delays, was terminated by the imperative motion of Mr. Boyd, on the 
15th of January, 1842, instructing the Committee on the Judiciary to report a bill 
instanter for the repeal of the bankrupt act ! The grand drama which opened with the 
splendors of the bank, and through many acts maintained the pageants of stocks, ex- 
changes, speculations, profligacy, and venal vice, in the last scene closed with the stifled 
murmurs and low wailings of the bankrupt act. A man who was a victircyn its prog- 
ress for an hour appeared in the end as a vindicator of an age. 

Although defeated by a small majority, as stated, yet the sagacity and foresight of 
Mr. Boyd, in planting himself on the independent treasury and the constitutional 
currency, in advance of the statesmen of that day, was remembered and faithfully 
vindicated, and rewarded by a triumphant election in 1839, over his competitor of 
1837. He was reelected in 1841 and '43, over political opponents; in 1845 was returned 
without opposition; in 1847 by a majority of thirty -two hundred; no opposition in 1849; 
and by a majority of twenty-nine hundred in 1851, against a Whig and Democrat, 
both in the field. Who will doubt the virtue of the people? Who will distrust their 
good sense and judgment? Let such a one become a trimmer, a sycophant, a super- 
serviceable slave, and traitor, by weakness or venality, to his cause; but he who has 
confidence in the right, and in public integrity, will stand firm on his great platform, 
and the swelling surges will dash on it in vain, and will recede when the calm shall 
return, and play around his feet. 

Representing the firmness and stability of his own district, and the general tendencies 
and constitutional views of his party, Mr. Boyd is now the Speaker of that House in 
which he never attempted any flourish of sounding phrases or startling movements of 
a political charlatan. His election was a just tribute to the soundness of his judgment, 
to his impartiality of conduct, to the solid virtues of the man, and the integrity of his 
public life. The records of political biography may be safely challenged for a parallel 
to the life of Linn Boyd, in consistency, in moderation, avoiding all violent extremes, 
in firmness, in foresight as to results and consequences, and sagacity as to the perma- 
nent wishes and welfare of the people. He has never, in an enlarged sense, been too 
fast; he has never been too slow: and a short review of his public life clearly manifests 
that this did not arise from servility to popular favor, a trimming of sails to catch the 
breeze, but sprang intuitively from the proprieties and justness of each occasion. 

On the 26th of January, 1837, upon a call from the House for information in reference 
to Texas, President Jackson communicated a message to that body. General Howard, 
of Maryland, moved its reference to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Boyd 
moved to amend, " with instructions to report a resolution acknowledging the inde- 
pendence of Texas." On the 18th of February following, that committee, through 
General Howard, reported a resolution " that the independence of Texas ought to be 
recognized." 

The subject of Texas never ceased to form a prominent subject of interest for the 
public mind, and undoubtedly influenced materially the presidential election of 1844. 
In his annual message of that year, Mr. Tyler called the attention of Congress to the 
subject of the reannexation of Texas, by the joint action of the legislative departments. 
Mexico, threatening to reconquer, was hanging on the rear of Texas with her legions; 
England was tampering v/ith her interests, and the people of the United States, from 
affinity of blood, and community of purpose and character, were pressing for her union 
with our Confederation. 

To effectuate this, various propositions were brought forward by gentlemen of the 
two great parties of the country. None were satisfactory. A meeting of the Demo- 
cratic party in caucus took place, at which all the various projets were brought forward 
or discussed. A motion was made to refer all the plans (so they were called) to a 
committee of gentlemen of that party who had proposed any plan. This motion was 
not successful, and by a vote, almost unanimously given, Mr. Linn Boyd was appointed 



10 BIOGRAPHY OF LINN BOYD. 

a committee of one to prepare a plan; and on the 21st of January, 1845, it was intro- 
duced and accepted by Mr. Douglas (now of the Senate) as " a modification of, or a 
substitute for, his amendment to the amendment." On the 25th of the same month 
the resolution of Mr. Milton Brown, with an accepted amendment of Mr. Douglas to 
the same, the whole constituting the identical resolutions, in substance, from the 
Democratic caucus committee of one — passed the House, and were sent to the Senate. 
On the third day of March, 1845, a message from the President announced that he had 
il approved and signed certain joint resolutions for annexing Texas to the Union," 
and " a loud burst of plaudits pealed through the House," heralding a new star rising 
with our constellation. 

That the reannexation of Texas (for I always believed it to be ours, politically and 
geographically) might lead to war, might be safely admitted, and yet not weaken- 
but rather strengthen — the argument for the measure. Without recurring to the ques- 
tion in detail, or adducing the official opinions of President Jackson, it is all summed 
up in the announcement of that policy which has become a historical fact, that by it 
" our country has obtained indemnity for the past and security for the future." The 
commission which has now closed its labors, in awarding to our citizens their just 
demands, indicates the first, and our strong position on the Gulf and the Pacific 
insures the latter. But the questions connected with the annexation of Texas and the 
war with Mexico, were not without their intrinsic difficulties; and those difficulties 
were rendered, at all times, in every step of the progress of events, more perplexing 
and embarrassing, by the tactics of a party that combined in its elements of opposition 
every phase of the human mind, and every incentive to action — talents and cunning, 
patriotism and ambition, boldness and duplicity, philanthropy and false sentimentality, 
integrity and venality — and all subservient to, and concentrated upon, the success of 
party. Official dispatches of the advance of the Mexican forces had reached our cap- 
ital, and their contents had become known to the whole country. On the 26th of 
April, 1845, a dispatch from General Taylor, sent by express, made known the fact 
officially " that Arista had taken the command of the Mexican army, and had signified 
1 to him that hostilities had commenced; that a party that General Taylor had sent two 

* days before had been cut off; that he had called on the Governors of Texas and Loui- 
' siana for volunteers — a large auxiliary force of five thousand men; and asking to have 

* a law passed authorizing the President to raise volunteers." The italics are placed 
here because it is the official language of General Taylor, and communicated on the 
11th of May by the President to Congress. The effect was electrical; the positive and 
negative powers of party were excited at once; the positive measures of the Demo- 
cratic party were for their country, and their brave army surrounded by dangers; the 
negative conduct of the Opposition would have permitted tha,t country to have been 
circumscribed in its limits, and that army driven back to any boundary that did not 
affect their existence as a party. The Committee on Military Affairs, on the morning 
of the 11th of May, simply proposed to take up its stale bill of the 27th of January, 
which had been brought forward, pending the Oregon controversy. This was the fact, 
as intended, and as stated in conversation preceding the session of the House. When 
so announced, Mr. Boyd, with decisive energy, scouted the measure as unjust, feeble, 
and temporizing, and, sitting down in his seat, promptly drew up the preamble and 
first section of the bill which subsequently became so conspicuous and beneficial in 
the progress of the war; and the declaration which it contained, that " by the act of the 
Republic of Mexico a state of war existed between that Government and the United 
States," crippled the Whig party through the whole subsequent action of Congress on 
this subject. Mr. Boyd prepared this at the moment, and it was shown to several 
members, one of whom, reading it with care two or three times, drew up a similar 
formula, embracing the language in part, and the idea throughout, of Mr. Boyd, and, 
getting the floor, offered it to the house. On the presentation, however, of Mr. Boyd's, 
it was adopted, and made the basis of all the subsequent movements of the Democratic 
party, and of the action of the House on this subject. The history of that war is 
written in letters of effulgence. The statesmen who guided and the soldiers who won 
the battles, by their heroic bearing, have achieved fame for themselves and important 
benefits for their country and the world at large. The end, perhaps, might have been 
accomplished at less sacrifice of treasure and of life, had not the laurel-blossoms of 
ambition required more crimson to give them a deeper and more gorgeous dye. 

The administration of Mr. Polk was an eventful and illustrious era in our history. 
While he strictly sustained the creed of his party, unlike General Jackson he had not 
that personal character and commanding influence which concentrated the energies of 



§ BIOGRAPHY OF LINN BOYD* U 

that party on his measures; and while this was felt in carrying on the war with Mexico, 
it had been previously visible in the difficulties which surrounded the negotiations of the 
Government and the legislation of Congress on the Oregon controversy. There has 
never been a question of more domestic interest than the settlement of the title and 
boundary of Oregon. A party which conceived that an important measure, in some 
degree, had been abandoned; a people — the population of the West — who thought their 
rights had been surrendered; a country that felt the daring of battle and the confidence 
of victory over an ancient foe, and felt its spirit insulted and its pride offended; and a 
large commercial influence, which always fears and shuns the disastrous effects of war 
— all these passions, prejudices, and interests, combining with party views and national 
considerations, made the delieate question more complex and difficult of solution. In 
the diversity of views and variety of propositions which were presented, the public 
mind became bewildered, and Congress seemed incapable. of any conclusion. The 
thread which led from the intricate mazes of this labyrinth was spun by' the hand of 
Linn Boyd; and without giving the prolix details of the congressional contest, it will 
suffice to make an extract from "Wheeler's History of Congress, (vol. 1. p. 105, Life of 
Senator Douglas:) 

"The joint resolution, in the form in which it finally passed the House, was offered 
as an amendment by Mr. Linn Boyd, of Kentucky, a gentleman whose unusually 
quiescent course challenges but little of public observation, but whose influence over 
his party, in regard to some of the late and most important measures of its policy, has 
been exemplified in a manner not less signal than complimentary. He seems to pos- 
sess an effective, but unpretending, faculty of uniting discordant opinions, and concen- 
trating them upon a general result, not surpassed by that of any member in the ranks 
of the Democratic party." 

A compliment most justly earned by the exhibition of those very qualities in the 
Texan question, the Mexican war controversy, the»Oregon difficulty, and last, not least, 
in the Compromise, on which the Union now stands solid and secure. 

The contest between the Democratic party and the Whig party has unquestionably 
on each side two principal phases. On the Democratic side, the protection of individual 
rights, and the preservation of the sovereignty of States; on the other, the aggrandize- 
ment of individuals and the consolidation of the central power. These prominent 
features will strike the general attention, upon any impartial review of our political 
history; and on either side these respective subdivisions find their historical associa- 
tions, their own true and powerful ally. They are cognate, and they will live and per- 
ish together, and the ruin of the States will be the destruction of individualism. But 
the contest between State sovereignty and consolidation has most deeply swayed the 
public feelings and aroused their fiercest energies. The contest of 1798 was renewed 
in 1848. A lapse of half a century reproduced its ancient struggle, warning the new 
generations that a recurrence to fundamental principles and the early sentiments of 
freedom is necessary to the perpetuity of the Republic. The fundamental principle of 
the Democratic party — viz: a strict construction of the Constitution of the United 
States — is common, as stated, to both branches of tha> party. The individual rights 
of the northern consumer, whether mechanic, farmer, or citizen in moderate circum- 
stances, can only, by this principle, be preserved against the aggrandizing and central- 
izing power of national banks, protective tariffs, partial construction of roads, railroads, 
or canals, departmental bureaus, (not recognized by the fundamental law,) strength- 
ening and consolidating power with an army of office holders, and an unceasing flow 
of corrupting influences; against an uncontrolled paper circulation, without any con- 
stitutional currency to hold in check its profligate expansions and its criminal contrac- 
tions, and against corrupt legislation and venal party combinations, whether of fund- 
mongers under Hamilton, stockholders under Biddle, or the present dynasty of Wall 
street brokers, now, on either side, managing presidential nominations, subsidizing the 
press, and surrounding the Capitol with their corruptions, and against all which no 
salutary check can be opposed, save only in the supremacy of the Democratic princi- 
ples, swayed by the moral and political power of the veto in the hands of an honest 
man. 

: The same principles and practical arrangement of the power would protect the sover- 
eignty of the States. These would be the sustaining and controlling forces of our now 
stupendous system of independent and mutually dependent States — the General Gov- 
ernment, 

" In noble eminence enthroned and sphered 
Amidst the other," 



12 BIOGRAPHY OF LINN BOYD. 

restrained by the same laws of order by which it restrains and is supported. Never 
in the history of the country was there a greater necessity for the equal exercise of 
these vital principles than on the first Monday of December, 1849. The unbalanced 
powers seemed to give up theircohesions, and, for the moment, surprise with some, and 
terror in others, prevented any certain observation of the great laws which regulate our 
system. Congress had assembled; no organization could be made; for more than forty 
days the strife of parties, and the convulsions of the country, were continued for the 
control of the House; the chief result was the election of a republican Speaker, and an 
imperceptible preponderance of the popular influences in favor ofthe Democracy. Yet 
the struggle, from the equipoise of parties and the confusion of certain other notions, 
foreign to the settled policy of both parties, and which were made to act a conspicuous, 
though temporary, part, was continued through successive months, crowded with 
excitement, and gloomy with danger. We must pass over the detail of these momen- 
tous months/ President Taylor and his Cabinet had pursued a policy with respect to 
California, New Mexico, and Texas, which did not command the approbation and 
support of his own partisans; ye.t those who were opposed to this policy were never in 
a majority, and the compromise measures, as an aggregate, were the success of a 
minority. At no time, as a whole, could they have probably commanded a majority, 
and yet, if they had not been united in some of their important details they would not 
have been passed, great evils would have been without remedy, important principles 
would have been trodden down, certain constitutional guarantees would have been left 
without sanction, and the ship of State, instead of being tossed by the stormy winds of 
declamation, might have floated on a sea of blood. 

Yet the Administration pressed its hopeless and dangerous policy: California must 
be admitted, and Texas be partitioned by Executive judgment and military execution. 
The decree of dismemberment was placed in the hands of a military leader, and Colonel 
Monroe, substituting the peal of the <jannon for the silent and peaceful judgment of the 
Supreme Court, was to give a new force to centralization, and a military impulse to 
consolidation. Such was the state of things when General Taylor lay cold and pallid 
in the presidential Mansion. Theaccession of the Vice President to the powers ofthe 
Government did not very materially affect the strength of the sections. The spirit of 
the new Administration was more timid, and undoubtedly more patriotic, than the 
Cabinet which had just been dissolved. The acting President found the order of mil- 
itary execution against Texas on record; and, upon a call from the House, Mr. Web- 
ster and Mr. Fillmore, by their special report and message of the 5th and 6th of August, 
1850, respectively, attempted the justification of that dangerous and extraordinary pro- 
cedure — the seizure of territory claimed by a State, and acknowledged as her lawful 
right by a previous Administration, and that seizure made by the military force of the 
General Government. 

Such was the gloomy aspect and condition of our affairs; the bayonets of qjir own 
soldiers bristling on the borders of a sovereign State of the Confederacy, to enforce a 
military order, and the Territory of New Mexico without laws or civil organization. 
The Texan boundary bill had parsed the Senate, and come to the lower House, where 
its defeat was inevitable; and no one hoped for a territorial bill for New Mexico. The 
Administration party would favor the Texan bill, but would not acknowledge the great 
cardinal doctrine ofthe States-Right Democracy — the constitutional protection of States 
and Territories by the negative of non-intervention. Upon the surface of things there 
was no prospect and no hope of conciliation, concession, compromise. The sagacity of 
Linn Boyd saw beneath that surface. He not only grasped men 's wishes and their pur- 
poses, but he saw where their dangers threatened and their fears would start up alarmed. 
He saw that rather than strike the blow which would shed American blood — that 
rather than press a point of doubtful jurisdiction, which must end in civil war — the 
timidity and patriotism of those who held the reins of Government would so far relax 
the necessities of party as to save the country ! With a firm conviction on this;point, resist- 
ing the importunities of friends with enduring will, and keeping his counsel in the ward 
of his prudence, on the 27th of August, 1850, he introduced his amendment to the 
Texas boundary bill — which was, in fact, abillforthe organization of the Territory of 
New Mexico, upon the constitutional principle of non-intervention. The introduction 
of this amendment was resisted with zeal and ability: by some who cared not to see a 
settlement of existing difficulties; by others who were opposed to this great feature of 
the amendment. On the next day, Mr. Boyd made his eloquent and patriotic speech 
in favor of his motion. Boldly, patriotically, and devotedly, he stood up for the great 
doctrines of his party, the Constitution, and his country. He said: 



BIOGRAPHY OF LINN BOYD. 13 

" For my own part, I avow what my object is in offering this amendment. It is to 

* test the sense of the House in relation to the establishment of territorial governments 
'' upon the non-intervention principle. I believe now, as I have always believed 

* before I came here, and since, in every stage of the progress of these bills through 
'this and the other branch of Congress, that non-intervention is the principle, and in 
'fact, the only principle upon which it would be possible for Congress to base any 
' measure for the establishment of territorial governments. I religiously believe it to 
' be so; and I declare that my sole object in insisting, as I have done, upon this amend- 
' ment, was to bring the House to a test upon that principle. It is, in my humble 
'judgment, the principle of the Constitution itself. It is the principle which has been 
' sanctioned and advocated by the Democratic party through the entire country, North 
'and South. It is acknowledged to be a just principle by very many persons even 

* outside of that party. Shall we abandon it now — especially at a time when it seems 
1 to be, and in fact is, the only principle upon which we can settle the question of terri- 
' torial governments?" 

This was bold and timely language. But when he followed with his direct appeal 
for the Constitution, the country, and the Union, he evinced the presence of#a master- 
spirit, and, thank God, his appeal stills rings throughout the land, and his work stands 
a monument to his fame and patriotism. He thus closed his solemn and eloquent 
harangue: 

"My object is to satisfy every gentleman, on all sides of this House, that I am 
' earnestly and in good faith seeking to test the sense of the House upon the doctrine 
'of non-intervention. I want to see that principle carried out. I want to see it carried 
' out in good faith. I wish to see peace restored to the country. I am for the Union. 

* I am for the Constitution as it is. I want no amendment to it. All I want — all I ask 
'is, that its provisions, as they now exist, shall be faithfully carried out. I say I am 
' for the Union— not so much because it protects us from foreign aggression, as for the 
' more important reason that it protects us against one another. In the name of God, 

* let us save that Constitution." 

" I said — though I fear I have in some measure violated the strict letter of my word — 

* that 1 did not intend to make a speech " 

[Cries of "Go on, Boyd !" " Go on !"] 

" Mr. Boyd, (continuing.) I do not intend it. We have already been listening to 

* speeches for nine long months. It is time we should act. I am astonished at the 
' patience with which our constituents have borne our procrastination. I think we 

* have talked enough; in God's name let us act. If the result of our action should be 

* that we cannot settle these questions upon the only principles on which, as I have 
' stated, I believe they can be settled, then I, for one, shall be in favor of an immediate 
i adjournment after the passage of the necessary appropriation bills. Nay, I will go 
i further, and say that I should be pleased, in that event, to see every man of this 
' House resign his commission into the hands of the people who gave it, and leave it 
'to them to send here representatives better disposed to their duty, and to save the 
'Union." 

Still, men who were fearful that the union of these two measures would jeopard a 
favorite object — men who desired to defeat both — men who wished to defeat one or the 
other by separating them — appealed to him, as they were so influenced by frank or sin- 
ister motives and views, to yield his purpose; but he pressed on — and was defeated. The 
Texan bill was then separately put on its passage, and failed by an overwhelming vote. 
The House and the country began to adopt the wisdom of the combined bill; the timid 
were alarmed at the dangers which menaced them; the current of feeling changed; the 
bill and the amendment were each reconsidered, reunited, and on the 7th day of Sep- 
tember, after nine months of struggle, the compromise — the bill emphatically of Linn 
Boyd — was passed. The danger was over; Texas was satisfied ; the boundary of New 
Mexico was settled; the great cardinal and healing doctrine of non-intervention was 
acknowledged and sanctioned; civil strife was appeased; human passions subsided; and 
the Union was saved. 

It is not improper to mention — it would be unjust to omit — the complimentary notices 
of Mr. Boyd's distinguished services on this occasion. Speaking of the compromise, 
Mr. Clay said: " If there was any good in it, Mr. Linn Boyd was entitled to the credit 
of it" — a compliment which, for the special part acted by Mr. Boyd, is richer than 
blood-stained laurels. It is in substance an imbodiment of a sentiment used towards 
himself in what may be the last public scene of his life: " Peace hath her victories, no 
less renowned than war." The various newspapers of the country, devoted to the 



14 BIOGRAPHY OP LINN BOYD. 

rights of the States and the integrity of the Union, bestowed on him the merited meed 
of their praise. From these the following (from the Washington Union, then edited 
by Mr. Ritchie) are selected with a slight correction, from the record, of the order of 
facts in one of them: 

"Mr. Boyd of Kentucky. — We publish, with great pleasure, the following brief 
' but correct portrait of one of the most remarkable and distinguished men of the 
' House of Representatives. We seize this opportunity, also, of stating an anecdote 
' which does justice to the sagacity and firmness of Mr. Boyd, the two essential 
c elements which enter into the composition of the statesman : He had satisfied himself 
'lately, after the most minute inquiry, when the two bills were before the House, that 
1 the Texas boundary and the New Mexico bills could not pass the House separately, 
' and that the only prospect of success was in their union. With this impression he 
' took his course, and pursued it. No persuasion, no remonstrance, could change his 
'purpose. Day and night he was importuned by some of the shrewdest men of the 
' House, but in vain. Mr. Boyd's reply uniformly was, ' I must take my own course — 
• believe me, it is the only way to carry these measures;' and then be assigned the 
'strongest reasons for his belief. The interest of the scene deepened, and the calcu- 
' lations of his friends were pressed upon him. Nothing could overcome his firmness. 
' At length the moment came for acting on the Texas bill. It was taken up for consid- 
' eration. The next process was to leave it alone to try its fate, or to amend it as he 
'had proposed. At this critical moment he was addressed by a friend: * I am requested 

' by a Texan (one of the ablest men in Congress) to inform you that Mr. (one of 

' the shrewdest and most influential Whigs in the House) says that, if you will let the 
' Texas bill pass alone, it will pass triumphantly.' Mr. Boyd replied at once, that ' he 
' did not believe it; that his own mind was made up; that he was determined to pursue 
•his own course, and would pledge himself for the success of the measure.' He 
' accordingly moved his amendment, and everything went swimmingly on until Wednes- 
' day evening, when the amendment was rejected by a majority of eight.* 

" It was then that his friends from Texas charged him with the defeat of the bill; but 
' Mr. Boyd still persisted that his was the only course, and that the experiment must 
' be tried again. His predictions were amply fulfilled on Thursday morning, when the 
' bill was passed by a majority of eleven. Then all sides of the House were disposed 
'to do justice to the man whose sagacity had forseen the proper course, and whose 
' firmness had accomplished the object." 

" Hon. Linn Boyd. — The strangers who visit Washington hereafter will ask, with 
' more anxiety than heretofore, to be shown this glorious Representative from Kentucky 
' in Congress, of which he has been a member for many years — never having, during 
' his long experience, faltered in the discharge of a duty to his country and his prin- 
' ciples. During the late most trying troubles, he towered above his usual patriotic 
' elevation of character, and exerted a giant's energies to bring order out of chaos. 
' We heard his noble speech just before the defeat of the boundary bill, and several 
' days prior to the success of all the compromises, and we saw then that he was 
'for the country at all hazards, and ready, if necessary, to sacrifice himself to serve 
' and save it. This model member of Congress possesses, in a peculiar degree, those 
' sterling elements of character which, when well commingled, as in this case, make 
' the man and the patriot." — Pennsylvanian. 

Thus closed the last eventful page of the history of our country. The struggle was 
protracted and the danger imminent. It swept both parties, for the time, from their 
moorings. A portion of the Democratic and Whig parties North, manifested a ten- 
dency to an unconstitutional radicalism, which would have undermined the institutions 
of the country and sunk them in the vortex of a chaotic confusion, without the posses- 
sion of a moral force or of any preeminent principle of order for the future adjustment 
of its various conflicting, and, in that state of things, irreconcilable passions and inter- 
ests. A portion of the Democratic and Whig party South, under the impulse of that 
principle of human nature in which extremes always beget extremes, were driven to 

*The Texan bill by itself was then put on its passage, and defeated by a majority of 47. All was now 
apparently lost : reconsiderations of the bill and the amendment took place; the amendment was 
adopted. The question was then put—" Shall the bill be ordered to a third reading ?'" Some moments 
elapsed, occasioned by the intense and deepening excitement for the fate of the bill, before the vote 
could be announced— 99 to 107 : and all was lost, almost hopelessly lost. A motion to reconsider was 
made — ruled out of order, an appeal taken, the Speaker overruled, the reconsideration obtained, the 
vote again taken, and the bill and amendment passed by a vote of 103 to 97. 



BIOGRAPHY OF LINN BOYD. 15 

the avowal of a dernier resort, and, a month longer, or a less fortunate or less considered 
movement, and the columns of the thirty-one States might now be lying strewn over 
the continent — the barricades of a civil war, or the bulwarks of a central despotism. 
But between the different branches of the respective parties reorganizations are taking 
place upon their old fundamental and national issues; and wo to the stragglers who 
leave the main army of their respective parties! — for, like pirates, they will have no 
national flag to protect them. This has been manifested already. The tendencies to 
reunion on both sides are strong and daily increasing; and that party which can best 
unite on its old platform will soonest command the confidence and approbation of the 
country — will soonest take up and continue the tendencies of that party, as the case 
may be, to an aggrandizinaconsolidation, or to the sovereignty of the States and the 
freedom of the people. 7ms is an epoch of the parties. A Democratic leader and Demo- 
cratic principle have saved the country; and when that party unites upon the great 
platform which is the creed of its broadest sentiments and noblest purposes, the States 
will be sovereign, the people will expand within the sphere of constitutional freedom, 
and the Union be perpetuated. 

Mr. Boyd having lost the companion of his earlier years, on the 14th of April, 1850, 
he was intermarried with Mrs. Anne L. Dixon, the daughter of James Rhey, Esq., a 
substantial and honorable citizen of Cambria county, Pennsylvania. The plain, good 
sense of this lady, (an acquaintance with whom will verify these remarks,) her freedom 
from cant and fashionable frivolity, her simplicity of manners, her warmth of friend- 
ship, her devotion, as a matter of principle, to the political faith of her husband, and 
her pride as a woman in the position which his merit has obtained, and the character 
of unsullied private honesty and public integrity which has illustrated his life, mark 
her as a proper companion for the career of such a man — a career not yet closed. 

Mr. Boyd has never filled any office other than that of a legislator. Tlie peaceful olive, 
not the bloody laurel, crowns his brow. On all occasions he has shown the spirit and 
ability of a sagacious statesman, and, without being a candidate for the convention to 
remodel the constitution of his State, he introduced and popularized the doctrine that 
all officers, judicial or otherwise, are agents of the people, deriving their authority 
from them, exercising their trusts from them, and should be selected by them, and be 
amenable to them, at stated intervals, by election; and the organic law of Kentucky now 
conforms to that movement. He belongs to a family of legislators. His father, as we 
have seen, served as such for many years. His brother Alfred has also been called 
upon to serve in a similar capacity ; while his remaining brother, John, removed in early 
times to Texas, participated in the war of the revolution, and after it was over, served 
for years in her Congress. This biography comes to its natural pause at this time most 
appropriately by the toast which was drank to him by the crowded assemblage, with 
hearty cheers, at the Democratic celebration on the 8th of January, 1852, at the seat 
of Government of the Union: 

" LINN BOYD: The Farmer-Statesman, the Statesman-Farm er-~another hickory 
from the Democratic forest." T. 



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